Many divorcing couples think they have to choose between mediating their divorce and having an attorney represent them. This is not the case. Couples can use attorneys while mediating but it is accomplished very differently than hiring an attorney to advocate and negotiate for you.
In the old way of divorcing, each party would hire an attorney, and then the attorneys negotiate with one another, each attorney going back and forth between the clients they are representing. The couple is not attending meetings together and having joint discussions with the attorneys. This can create a very adversarial situation as the client often has no idea how their attorney is positioning their settlement.
The Benefits of Working with a Divorce Mediator
Oftentimes, the attorney is deciding what would be the best agreement (for their client) without much (if any) input from their client. In mediation, the couple is working alongside each other with a divorce mediator to understand their needs and constraints and develop plans that will work for everyone in the future.
Unlike the combative nature of traditional divorce proceedings, mediation fosters open communication and cooperation. The presence of a neutral third-party mediator facilitates constructive dialogue between the spouses, allowing them to identify shared goals and develop solutions that address everyone’s needs.
The cooperative approach that is adopted in divorce mediation allows for:
- Reduced Stress and Conflict: By focusing on shared interests and compromise, mediation can significantly reduce the emotional and psychological strain associated with divorce. Instead of battling it out in court, couples can work together to find solutions that meet everyone’s needs, leading to a more amicable resolution.
- Empowered Decision-Making: Both spouses have a voice in the mediation process, leading to a sense of control and ownership over their future. Unlike litigation where decisions are made by a court, mediation allows couples to work together and come to their own solutions, fostering a sense of ownership and responsibility for their future.
- Creative and Tailored Solutions: Mediation allows for flexible and individualized solutions that are usually not possible through the rigid framework of court proceedings. Instead of being bound by legal precedents, couples can explore creative solutions that address their unique circumstances and priorities, leading to a more tailored and satisfying outcome.
- Improved Communication: The mediator’s role is to facilitate clear and respectful communication, promoting understanding and cooperation between spouses. By fostering open and honest dialogue, couples can work through their differences and develop a foundation for a more amicable future relationship.
- Saving Time and Money: Mediation can significantly reduce the time and financial burden associated with divorce. Unlike the increasingly lengthy court process, mediation can be completed much quicker, allowing couples to move forward with their lives more efficiently. Additionally, the cost of mediation is typically far less than the fees associated with a litigated divorce, saving couples valuable resources.
- Promoting Healthy Co-Parenting: For couples with children, mediation can be a valuable tool for establishing healthy co-parenting relationships. By working together to create a parenting plan that meets the needs of both parents and children, couples can avoid conflict and ensure their children’s well-being is prioritized throughout the divorce process.
Seeking Attorney Support in Mediation
Sometimes parties may want to have the support of an attorney through mediation to be able to guide them and lend their expertise. Couples who work with AMS and want attorney support speak with their attorney in between sessions. The attorneys are not in the mediation room as couples need to be able to speak their minds and focus on their needs.
Attorney-assisted mediation can be helpful for divorcing couples by:
- Ensuring Legal Protection: Attorneys can ensure your legal rights and interests are protected throughout the mediation process.
- Providing Expert Guidance: They can explain complex legal concepts and offer advice on various aspects of the divorce settlement, including property division, child custody, and spousal support.
- Offering Emotional Support: Navigating a divorce can be emotionally challenging. Having an attorney who understands the emotional complexities of divorce can provide valuable support and guidance.
Qualities of a “Mediator-Friendly” Attorney
When choosing an attorney to assist you with your mediated divorce, certain qualities are essential to ensure a smooth and successful process. Look for an attorney who:
- Supports Cooperative Solutions: They believe in resolving disputes amicably and are committed to finding solutions that work for everyone involved. A “mediator-friendly” attorney understands the value of compromise and finding mutually beneficial solutions.
- Possesses Substantial Mediation Experience: They have extensive experience working with clients in mediation and understand the nuances of this process. Their experience in the mediation environment allows them to navigate the dynamics involved and provide effective guidance to their client.
- Communicates Effectively: They can clearly explain complex legal concepts and communicate effectively with you, the mediator, and others involved. Effective communication skills are crucial in ensuring everyone involved understands the legal implications of the proposed solutions and fosters collaboration throughout the process.
- Demonstrates Empathy and Understanding: They understand the emotional toll of divorce and are committed to supporting your well-being throughout the process.
- Values Open Communication: They encourage open and honest communication between you and your spouse, fostering trust and mutual understanding. By promoting transparent communication, the attorney creates a safe space for dialogue and cooperation, which are essential for a successful mediation.
- Is Responsive and Available: They are readily available to answer your questions and address your concerns throughout the mediation process. Their availability ensures you receive timely guidance and support throughout the process, reducing stress and uncertainty.
Making Informed Decisions During Divorce Mediation
While your attorney can provide valuable guidance and support, the final decision-making power remains firmly in your hands. You have the right to:
- Accept, Counter, or Reject Proposed Agreements: You are not obligated to accept any agreement you do not feel comfortable with.
- Seek Additional Information: You can ask your attorney or the mediator to clarify any points of confusion or concerns you have about the proposed settlement.
- Take Time to Consider: Don’t feel pressured to make hasty decisions. Take the time you need to review the proposed agreement carefully and make informed choices.
Remember, your attorney is your guide and advisor, not a decision-maker. Ultimately, you are empowered to choose the path that best serves your needs and interests.
Choosing the Right Path: Contact AMS Today
If you are considering divorce mediation and are looking for a skilled mediator to work with, Advanced Mediation Solutions (AMS) is here to help. We have extensive experience assisting clients through successful mediated divorces, and can also help you find the right “mediator-friendly” attorney who aligns with your values and goals.
Contact AMS today at (856) 669-7172 or message us online for a free consultation to learn more about our services and get started.